ALBANY, NY — January 11, 2021 — State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick took his first legislative votes today in the State Senate, voting in favor of passing nine new bills that advance commonsense election reforms in New York.
“It was an incredibly exciting honor to cast my first votes on legislation as a State Senator this afternoon,” said Senator Reichlin-Melnick. “Fittingly, the first bills I voted on had to do with election reforms that will add transparency and reliability into our absentee ballot system. In my 2020 primary and general elections, New York’s archaic absentee ballot rules caused long delays in determining a winner. These vitally needed reforms will help expand access to voting, add much-needed transparency into the process, and help restore faith in our election system.”
Among the highlights of the nine bills passed today by the Senate:
Boards of Elections can now begin processing absentee ballots prior to Election Day, which should avoid another year where the winner of many elections isn’t known until weeks after Election Day
Voters can now request absentee ballots earlier, and Boards of Elections will have to mail out absentee ballots sooner after the requests have been received
The State Board of Elections will have to create an online portal allowing voters to track the progress of their absentee ballot so they can be assured the ballot has been received and counted by their County’s Board of Elections.
Voters will be able to apply for absentee ballots online
Assuming that voters approve in November, the NYS Constitution will be amended to allow the legislature to enact laws giving voters the right to request an absentee ballot without needing to provide an excuse for voting absentee
The slate of bills will now go on to the State Assembly for a vote, and if passed will be sent to the Governor to sign into law.
Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick represents the 38th State Senate District, which covers four towns in Rockland and Westchester.